English - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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The Canadian monthly, 1872-1882. --

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1973
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bruce H. Nesbitt
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: English Department
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Intellectual identity and the culture industry: Critical thought about intellectuals and mass culture from Adorno to Seinfeld

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

intellectual Identity and the Culture Industry: Critical Thought about Inte11'ectuals and Mass Culture discusses the life of the intellect and the intellectual as they relate, or fail to relate to, the problems of mass culture. In Chapter One, I evaluate the work of Theodor W. Adorno. I consider Adorno's critique of jazz as the prototype for his formidable assault on the culture industry at large and its role in the downfall of intellectual discourse. I identify comedy as a potentially subversive strain within mass culture. I advance what is not so much a methodological or historical approach to intellectuals and mass culture, but an attitude toward the phenomena under investigation, one that is, following Adorno, both uncompromising and intellectually rigorous. Chapter Two charts the fate of the intellectual both in and outside of ac:ademia, particularly as addressed by critiques of The Last Intellectuals. Russell Jacoby, Andrew Ross, Richard A. Posner and Noam Chomsky are discussed in terms of intellectual life in our time. Chapter Three surveys the mass cultural landscape, singling out the television comedy Seinfeld as exemplary of the best of what mass culture is capable of, demonstrating my own ability to 'do' Critical Theory, and to forward a cultural critique reflecting moral, ethical and spiritual criteria of judgment. The partial absence of a completely unified resolution between these two chapters resonates with an apprehension of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School as breaking with the intellectual tradition of foundationalism that emphasizes unity. As such what is presented is a critical alternative to the dominance of the intellectual tradition running from Descartes through positivism. I contend that the problem of intellectual life in relation to mass culture resists harmonious integration into a singular conceptual totality, because I maintain hope that the individual intellect can retain a degree of integrity and efficacy in spite of a monolithic cultural apparatus bent on deluding us at the junciture where culture comes to function as social control.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jerald Zaslove
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Special Arrangements: English, Humanities, Fine Arts, Communication - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Language structure and verse structure.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1967
Abstract: 

This thesis sets out to find ways of discussing the structure of English verse purely in terms of language without recourse to extra-linguistic metrical abstraction. Transformation-generative grammar and other linguistic theories are brought together wherever possible in order to search out linguistic tools for the analysis of verse structure. The 'structure1 of verse is taken to include verse movement and verse language, but not poetlo form or content. Section I This section sets out to develop the phonemic clause as a possible unit of verse structure. The role of Juncture and intonation in verse movement are considered as well as that of stress, and so is the connection of the perception of suprasegmentals with the underlying phrase structure. The syllable Is considered as the segmental unit of language and its traditional role In verse theory is discussed. The verse line is considered both as a graphic unit and in its relationship to spoken language. Juncture is found to be the factor common to both the phonic division of speech and the graphic division of verse. Verse is divided into two main types according to structure: metered and unmetered verse. The language elements of both metered and unmetered verse are examined together with the possible effect of breathing, and other physiological rhythms, on verse movement. Rules are postulated for the generation of a hypothetical verse line as an extension of H.B. Stookwell's rules for Intonation in the generation of a sentence. Section II In this section, six examples of unmetered verse are analysed according to Juncture divisions into phonemic clauses and are discussed according to underlying phrase structure and other linguistic features. In all six poems, a second analysis is made according to the poet's reading of the poem. A graphic recording of the voice sound was made in each case, and for the live readings, there was also a graphic recording of breath by means of a respiration curve synchronised with the voice. Conclusions The conclusions of this thesis are that verse structure can be analysed In terms of Juncture and the phonemic clause. That Juncture plays a significant part In the movement of verse and offers a practicable division point for the setting up of a unit of verse movement. That the poet's particular use of verse language is an extension of the main language. That in any physical observation of verse readings, the limitations of perception must be taken into account. That although breathing patterns as observed suggest possible connections with the verse line, no general conclusions can be drawn at this point.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lionel Kearns
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Time, death, and mutability : a study of themes in some poetry of the Renaissance - Spenser, Shakespeare, and Donne

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

This study was undertaken in order to examine some examples of Renaissance poetry in the light of the themes of love, death, time, and mutability. The scope of the thesis has been restricted to the Mutabilitie Cantos and the Fowre Hymnes of Edmund Spenser; the Sonnets and Ovidian poems of Shakespeare; and the Songs and Sonets and Divine Poems of John Donne. The emphasis of the thesis rests on the poetry of John Donne; but to appreciate better the power of his synthesis of the sacred and profane, the author first examines the Christian idealism of Spenser and the "realism" of Shakespeare. Spenser is seen as the poet of ideals. He looks beyond the world of decay and time to a "Sabaoth of the Soul". His Hymnes. while not denying the possibility of love in time, see no way for romantic love to transcend death* Nor is earthly love of the same nature as man's love for God. Shakespeare, while recognizing the sway that Time holds over man, asserts the ability of love in friendship?and its expression in verse??triumph over change and decay. Unlike Spenser, he is not interested in ideal or eternal existences. Both poets have affinities with Donne. Like Spenser, Donne speaks in terms of eternity. Like Shakespeare, he affirms man's ability to overcome time and change in this world of mutability. His argumentative style and his synthesis of sacred and profane love set him apart. This study examines the varieties of experience found in his love poetry, culminating in his statement in such poems as The Canonization, The Anniversarie, and The Exstasie, that romantic love assumes the eternal stature of sacred love, yet never loses its attachment to physical experience. In his religious verse also love varies; man can be an inconstant lover of God f as well as of women. But always Donne stresses the continuity of experience from love of women to love of God, and the ability of both kinds of love to withstand time and change. The thesis has tried to avoid identification of life with art, the poet with the poem. Sources and antecedents have been used only where they illuminate the themes under scrutiny. Throughout the study, the ordering used for the poems is not intended to be chronological. The study is a triptych, examining the individual poets without drawing conclusions as to the superiority of one statement over another.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
F. Candelaria
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The transcendental symbol.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

This thesis constitutes a preliminary consideration of the artistic creative process in Romantic transcendental art, whereby chaos is transformed into cosmos. Tt deals with the disintegration of world orders and the Romantic crisis of consciousness, at the discovery of process in a world which was earlier thought to be static. In the face of a chaotic environment, a world in flux, the language of art experienced some radical transformations, both from the standpoint of what it was called upon to do in establishing order in the world, and in its organic relationship to the artist as creator. There is consideration given to the nature of the transformation of consciousness, and to the Word as a "transcendental symbol" which both makes use of and resolves the dialectical nature of process in the creative act. Consideration is given to the Word as the symbol which unites Being and becoming. For the Romantic poet to shape chaos into cosmos, it was necessary for him to discover the significance of himself both in relation to the ground of order in Being, and his place in relation to the flux of the world. Hence considerable attention is given to the creative character of the artist, and to the -IV- artist's use of his creative tools. In this context I have dealt with three figures who were 'avowed' transcendentalists - Carlyle, EmersOn, and! Thoreau - but kept ray discussion open enough so that the consideration nay also be extended to other Romantic poets. In considering these three, I have selected works where the concern for the discovery of the right relationship of nan to Divine Being and to the world of phenomena is uppermost. In each instance the central question of the activity of the Creative \ Word, the tool of creation, in bringing a True cosmos out of chaos is uppermost. In each case the artist finds that the reorient-ation of consciousness frora the world of process to a Centre in Being, brings new resources of language, a discovery of the significance of the act of creation, an appreciation of the True value of the external creation, and a restored sense of order in a dynamic universe. I deal with the work of Carlyle for the purpose of considering the rhythms of the Romantic revolution of consciousness, Emerson for the discovery of the nature of man's relationship to Divine Being, and Thoreau for his application of the creative process in the actualization of the Divine Word in forn. The central value of the thesis centers in its consideration of the root question of Romanticism, which is the discovery, in the face of external disintegration, of a Divine Centre and source of order within the human being which, through the activity of the Creative Word in the creative process, could be made flesh, so brin^inr order into the flux of the external creation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert H. Dunham
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The motif of the 'quest' in the early works of W. H. Auden.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

None

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robin Blaser
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

"Experiments in statement" : the theme of man's instinctual life in selected writings of H.G. Wells

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mason Harris
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Irony in Alexander Pope's five major epistles.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

The thesis examines Pope's major epistles to show the range and intention of his irony. Throughout the thesis is an analysis of the methods and devices Pope uses in order to achieve irony. There is a discussion of the mock-epic and of classical and Biblical allusions which serve to contrast the values of Pope's age with those of other times. The irony of tones is examined to show the contrast between what the tone implies and the language or image suggests. Irony of manner is discussed through a study of the detachment of the speaker, whose attitude may be one of polite wonder or self-abnegation and apparent tolerance. Verbal irony, one of the main themes, is discussed as denotative, connotative, or associative irony, as well as pun, juxtaposition and zeugma. The first part, a general introduction to Pope's irony, shows that it is irony both of form and matter, and that his method is one of contrast--the contrast between expression and meaning, between appearance and reality, and between the actual and the ideal. The second, which discusses the remarkable fusion between Pope's thought and image, shows that Pope speaks through his images, rather than just using them to illustrate a point. The following three chapters examine the portraits in detail to show that Pope uses his characters to portray the qualities and habits he wishes to castigate. iii The first deals with the misers and spendthrifts in the epistles to Bathurst and Burlington, the second with inconsistency and the Ruling Passion in the epistles to a Lady and Cobham, and the last with bad poets and critics in the epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. The last section is simply a conclusion which notes the relation between irony and value in Pope's epistles, and shows that his irony is not just negation, but that it has a core of central values and an implied moral and social judgment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Temple Maynard
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The use of historical material in contemporary British drama.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

An interesting feature of post-1956 British drama is the concern of many playwrights to explore problems of contemporary relevance from an historical perspective. It is the purpose of this thesis to examine the use of historical situations and historical settings in six selected plays of the period. ?one each by Robert Bolt, Peter Shaffer and John Gsborne and three by John Arcien?? to show that John Arden best understands the problems posed by the dramatic use of historical material. Such a topic invites any number of approaches, none of which is necessarily superior to another. One could examine the history plays in terms of the thematic concerns prevalent in the non-historical dramas of the various authors, for instance. Or one could study the political or ideological orientations as revealed, in the critical and non-dramatic writings of the playwrights and then relate such concerns to similar considerations in their history plays. In either case, the result would be relevant to our study of the use of historical material. However, because the topic is concerned primarily v/ith the dramatic use of such material, and because the works of four playwrights are under consideration, neither approach is employed. Instead, the method is constituted principally of in-depth studies of individual plays. The aesthetic and thematic aims of the authors are given full consideration, of course, but so far as possible these aims are related to the plays at hand rather than to broader and hence less manageable considerations. Common to the six plays is a decided break with the familiar fourth-wall conventions of naturalistic or realistic drama. As this study shows, however, the use of overtly theatrical devices or conventions, like the use of historical material itself, is neither new to drama nor is it a viable substitute for thematic evasions on the.author's part. Bolt's A Man for All Seasons and Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun provide convincing illustrations of this point. Conversely, a playwright's conscientious attention to such matters is insufficient to compensate for dramaturgical deficiencies. Osborne's Luther and Arden's Left-Handed Liberty prove that thematic thoroughness does not necessarily result in viable historical drama. However, Arden's Armstrong's Last Goodnight and Serjeant i'-iusgrave' s Dance illustrate that a happy combination is possible, from both an historical and dramatic point of view. These plays suggest that a playwright's success with the use of historical material.is best achieved if he is conversant v.'ith both the academic aspects of the period under consideration and the vast array of artistic conventions by which the various issues may be exploited to great dramatic effect. In other words, Arden shows that intelligent historicism and theatrical craftsmanship must be molded in such a way that neither dominates or submerges the other and in which neither can fairly be evaluated independently of the other. In so doing, Arden demonstrates that an historical approach remains a valid?? often exciting??ue by which problems of contemporary relevance can be explored.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Malcolm Page
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The making of an Anglo-Saxon hero.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1968
Abstract: 

Modern literary criticism of Beowulf has raised the poem' far above its value as merely an historical document. That the author worked primarily as an artist, and only secondarily as an historian of the Anglo-Saxon pre-migration period, is widely recognized. Nor did he merely retell an older folktale about heroes and monsters, although the main events, the three great fights, are arranged chronologically. Rather, the poet has fixed in his mind the ideals of a pre-Christian heroic society, and he designs his poem to reveal these ideals through the character and actions of Beowulf, presented first as a young retainer nnd then as an old king. Beowulf comes into the story as he comes into the land of the Danes---as a complete stranger; but In the exchange of speeches it is evident that he is no wandering adventurer seeking personal glory. He has come to help the Danes in their twelve-year feud against Grendel, and he awaits Krothgar's permission to act as the Danish champion. The first 700 lines of the poem lead up to Krothgar's entrusting his great hall, the symbol of Danish glory, to Beowulf's protection, and the actual fight is thus only a crowning point, verifying all that has been revealed of Beowulf---his great strength and his equally great courage. Although there is a leap in the chronological progression of events after Beowulf returns to his Geatish king---we are suddenly told that he became king and has ruled well for fifty years---there is no break in the poet's imaginative progression. Krothgar had preached to Beowulf the virtues of good kingship, declaring that the young thane has only to use well those gifts which God has given him, and which he has already displayed. It is with this knowledge of Beowulf's character that we must interpret his last great fight, in which he again reveals the qualities he had shown against the descendants of Cain. His death is given also an historical significance, set as it is between the earlier wars of the Geats and Swedes and the future wars in which his people expect to be defeated. Beowulf has given the Greats fifty years of peace---not by overcoming possible enemies, but, we are led to believe, by his character alone. The last 350 lines of the poem concentrate upon the profound sorrow of the Geats in the death of their king: for they realise that their loss is even the loss of their living ideal of heroic conduct and of their own security.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M.A. Mason
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.